Liposuction Vs Tummy Tucks

Everyone would love to get rid of the extra, unsightly fat from their body. Many are concerned about the extra loose skin hanging around after a massive weight loss. When stubborn fat deposits refuse to budge with diet and exercise alone, it could be time to consider other options. Liposuction and tummy tuck are two of the popular procedures available for those who wish to get rid of extra fat and reshape their contour.


Liposuction is one of the top five cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. Also called “lipoplasty”, the procedure involves the removal of fat. The most common areas where liposuction is used include the abdomen, love handles, buttocks, thighs, arms, neck, calves, chin, and back.

Healthy adults above the age of 18 who have areas of disproportionate fat deposits that have not responded to exercise or diet are ideal candidates for liposuction. A firm and elastic skin and a body weight that is not more than 30% of ideal weight are other important criteria.

There are many types of liposuction performed where the technique used to break up fat deposits differs but the suction method remains the same. A cannula, which is a hollow instrument, is inserted beneath the skin to suction out the broken fat using a high-pressure vacuum.

Some of the NYC liposuction methods we use include:

Tumescent liposuction:

This is the most common and traditional method of liposuction. Multiple small cannulas called microcannulas are placed under the skin to suction out fat after applying high-pressure through them. A local anesthetic solution that is a combination of lidocaine and epinephrine is injected into the tissue where the liposuction would be performed. The procedure does not require general anesthesia.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL):

The UAL technique makes use of ultrasound to break and liquefy the fat which is suctioned out. The ultrasound method is useful in removing fat from fibrous tissues and hard-to-treat areas including knees, cheeks, knees, and ankles. The ultrasound waves are delivered either through cannula below the skin’s surface or above the skin using a special emitter.

Laser-assisted liposuction:

Laser energy is used to heat the fat and break it up before being suctioned out. These procedures are performed at an outpatient facility under a local anesthetic that does not require an overnight stay. The procedure is usually completed in two hours.

Before the procedure

The initial consultation is when the doctor determines if additional tests and diagnostics are needed while also explaining the procedure in detail. The patient may need to undergo tests if needed and will also be required to stop smoking at least two weeks before the procedure. If additional supplements are required, the doctor will prescribe these.

After the procedure

Patients are able to go home the same day if a local anesthetic is used. Support bandages on the area where liposuction has been performed are fitted to assist in healing. Painkillers and antibiotics may be prescribed. The area could be numb for about six to eight weeks after which it gets back to normal. Some bruising or soreness is common which resolves in time. Follow up visit is required for the removal of stitches. Patients recover within a few days and are able to resume normal activities in this duration.

The compression bandage may need to be worn for 3 to 4 weeks. The bruising and swelling would last between 7 to 10 days.

Advantages of liposuction

Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that does not involve surgery or lengthy hospital stay. And because it is minimally invasive, there are minimal risks that are usually associated with surgery and other complicated procedures. Patients are able to resume their normal activities within days and there is no downtime. There is a reduction in the number of fat cells in the area targeted, resulting in better contour and lower body fat percentage.

Risks of liposuction

Risks are the same as in any other procedure and include asymmetry, discoloration, and swelling of the skin which usually disappears after some time. Infection, blood clots, and risk of bleeding are other complications but are very rare since there is no surgery involved.

Liposuction is not intended to treat obesity and if the patient gains weight again after the procedure, the fat deposits also reappear. Also, liposuction does not tighten the skin where excess fat is removed and this may require tightening procedures such as a tummy tuck.

Julia - Chief Plasic Surgery Specialist

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Hi! My name is Julia. I am the Chief Plastic Surgery Specialist at Scarpidis Aesthetics. Feel free to ask me any questions, I'll be happy to help!

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Julia - Chief Plastic Surgery Specialist

Ask Julia


Tummy tuck

Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct loose skin on the abdomen, usually a result of massive weight loss. As per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there was an 11% increase in the number of tummy tucks done in 2016.

Tummy tucks are performed on women who wish to achieve a tighter tummy after multiple pregnancies or obese individuals who achieve massive weight loss. For women looking to lift, augment or tighten multiple areas of their bodies after pregnancy, a tummy tuck is often done as part of a mommy makeover procedure.

Ideal candidates are adults who are physically healthy with a stable body weight. Doctors advise additional medical tests and diagnostics and prescribe medications or supplements if required.

Patients are advised to stop smoking four weeks before the procedure.

Procedure steps

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and could take up to five hours. The surgeon makes a horizontal incision above the pubic hairline to lift up the upper layer of the skin. The weak muscles of the abdomen are then repaired and the excess fat tissue is removed. After correcting the muscles, the skin is pulled down like a window blind and excess skin is trimmed off before being sutured.

Following the surgery, dressing and support bandages are applied along with drain tubes that can drain out any fluid build-up at the surgery site.

Depending on the complexity and extent of the procedure, patients may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two.


Recovery may take more time than liposuction and doctors advise avoiding strenuous physical activity during the first week. Patients may be able to return to work within four weeks although this can vary depending on the type and extent of the repair carried out. Doctors also advise avoiding lifting heavy weights and bending down at least for the first six weeks after the surgery. Full recovery may take up to six months.


Risks of tummy tuck include bleeding, blood clot formation, infection, poor wound healing, anesthesia-related complications, nerve damage, and fluid build-up. Recovery time is also longer in this procedure and it may not be possible to take up regular exercise and work for some weeks.

Which procedure is ideal for me?

When comparing liposuction vs tummy tuck, liposuction is the best option when there is excess fat to be removed and a tummy tuck is ideal when loose skin needs to be tightened. A combination of liposuction and abdominoplasty called lipoabdominoplasty is performed to remove maximum fat and tighten the skin around the abdomen. Consulting with an experienced surgeon would help determine which procedure is right for you and whether a combination of both is required.

Strengthen Your Results With Personal Training

At Scarpidis Aesthetics, we go one step beyond a superlative surgical experience. For our New York patients, we offer personal training services for those who have recently undergone body contouring. Too frequently, we have seen patients use surgery as a presumed “cure-all” for their physique, failing to alter their lifestyle, regaining the weight. With our personal training services, our aim is to help patients find a new routine, giving them health and beauty for a long time to come.

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Schedule a consultation

If you struggle with stubborn areas of fat that refuse to budge no matter how much time you spend at the gym, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Scarpidis today to discuss your liposuction procedure. During your meeting in his midtown office, he will carefully evaluate your problem areas, before outlining a customized treatment plan designed to sculpt the slim and toned body contour you deserve.

Call us today: (212) 951-0505

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